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France, Germany, Poland call for deeper EU military ties

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Dec 13, 2010
France, Germany and Poland urged the European Union to come up with concrete steps to deepen military cooperation by the end of next year, according to a letter made public on Monday.

The letter, signed by the foreign and defence ministers of all three countries, was addressed to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who also heads the European Defence Agency.

"To keep the momentum we need to give a fresh impetus to European Security and Defence Policy, in full complementarity with NATO," said the missive dated December 6. "Your personal involvement in this endeavour is key."

The ministers added: "We see a specific need to improve our capacities to plan and to conduct operations and missions, to strengthen cooperation among our militaries and to create synergies in times of scarce resources, taking due care for complementarity with national and NATO planning capabilities."

The letter said the aim was to achieve "concrete results" under Poland's presidency of the EU in the second half of 2011.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said last month that reinforcing common EU defence plans would be a priority of this country's six months at the helm of the bloc.

The letter was released four days after EU defence ministers agreed at a meeting in Brussels to step up military cooperation in order to cope with austerity putting pressure on budgets across Europe.

In their letter, the ministers also called for "improved" relations between the 27-nation bloc and the NATO military alliance which is needed for "a more effective European engagement in global affairs".

Although 21 of the EU's 27 members are part of the 28-nation NATO, cooperation between the two organisations has been made difficult by age-old divisions between NATO member Turkey and EU state Cyprus.

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